UCLH helps patient's Paralympic dream come true 

07/09/2012 00:00 

A critical care patient who has spent more than 200 days in hospital has fulfilled his dream of watching the Paralympics live from the Olympic Stadium … thanks to the dedication of UCLH staff.  Jonathan Stringer – who is attached to a mobile ventilator – described it as an ‘amazing experience’.

 Jonathan with consultant nurse John Welch and senior physiotherapist Joanne Connolly

Jonathan with consultant nurse John Welch and senior physiotherapist Joanne Connolly

He and his parents were accompanied by consultant nurse John Welch and senior physiotherapist Jenny Connolly who took along a whole set of medical supplies to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Paralympic staff fast-tracked them past some of the queues, gave them an extra ticket and ensured they sat in a great spot, close to the Olympic flame.  The VIP treatment continued when Jonathan was presented with a special souvenir T-Shirt by one of the Team GB doctors and young Paralympic athlete Jamie Carter.

Jonathan, who has been a patient at University College Hospital for the past eight months, was celebrating his 25th birthday (and 209th day on the unit).

Now back on the unit, he said: “It’s the best day this year. Very exciting. I have been looking forward to seeing the Olympics and booked tickets ages ago.  I was panicking I would miss it. It was amazing and has given me a lot of confidence.”

Staff on the critical care unit are gradually re-introducing Jonathan to life outside hospital to prepare him for his return home to Chingford. He requires permanent ventilation using a portable ventilator via a tracheotomy (hole in his neck).

John Welch said: “We have accompanied Jonathan and his parents to Regents Park and Tottenham Court Road to get him used to leaving hospital in his wheelchair, using a mobile ventilation pack – but the trip to Stratford was much more ambitious.

“He has been following the games avidly on his computer and we thought it would be great for him to go to the stadium. Judith Hulf who used to work at UCLH as a consultant is one of the medical leads for the Olympics/Paralympics and helped arrange the visit. We all tried very hard to make it work - and it was worth it!”

Jenny Connolly added: “We needed to suction his airway during the trip and we brought along an extra ventilator, lots of equipment and medication. He was really keen to go and it is a step towards preparing him for home.”

Jonathan with his mum

Mrs Angela Stringer said her son had been looking forward to visiting the Park ever since it was announced seven years ago. 

She added: “The prospect of the visit has, I feel, helped accelerate his progress and the long day out has proved that he can leave the hospital room. Thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

Jonathan, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was admitted to the unit in January following major bowel surgery. You can find out more about the condition from www.actionduchenne.org

David Howell,clinical director of the UCLH intensive care unit, said:  "Delivering the best possible experience for our patients is a priority for us in critical care. This is a great example of where our multidisciplinary team worked cohesively , outside of the hospital environment , to achieve this. We were all dellighted to hear how much Jonathan enjoyed his day."


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